We’ve spoken about how to appeal to your network and establish yourself through social proof with a thought out strategy for ratings and reviews, but how do you build beyond your initial network and entice new enrollments to your course? Remember, the more interest and enrollments you can generate during your first 30 days of launching, the better your chances are of getting featured or prioritized internally on Udemy. This prominent positioning in the Udemy marketplace will help your course be seen by a greater number of potential students.
EXPAND YOUR REACH
Expand your reach and start connecting
We often hear new instructors say they’re hesitant to market themselves, they don’t feel like they have a network, or they just don’t know where to start. But there are almost certainly people who are eager to see what you’ve been working on! When you shift your thinking from “I’m selling something” to “I’m sharing with people who want to learn what I offer” you will find things much easier. Think of this first step as generating good karma and getting to know your potential students.
Three easy steps
Think about all the networks you’re a part of or have wanted to join
Review your target student description and research where your students hang out online
Sign-up or join those communities and start getting to know your students
Focus on giving information versus selling
Decide on a few websites, groups, or social media sites you want to experiment with, and join or update your profile. Remember that you’re just joining the party, so behave as if you would socially, not as a salesman. The goal is to show that you are informed about your topic and able to discuss it in a way people can understand and find appealing. Start out by posting or offering useful information and generally being of service.
Try different techniques and styles when answering questions, offering information, or responding to others in chats. You’re going to be looking for what resonates with people, and also gathering information about their problems, questions, and goals. This is a process of trial and error, and you’ll learn a lot about your students both by what works and what doesn’t.
If you join a group or site but realize it’s not where your target student is, don’t give up. There’s a lot out there, so keep expanding your circle. You can ask what other groups people are a part of, and go look there. Eventually, you’ll have a handful of sites and groups to work with.
Where to look for your community
Start with who you know. Keep spreading the news in your personal network.
Professional and alumni networks. List out every group you’re a part of or could be a part of. It might be from several years ago, but that’s fine. Check back in with these groups and follow them on social media or sign up for their newsletters. You will be surprised how long people remember contacts! See what they have been doing and get back into the circle.
In real life. Every time you attend a meetup, event, conference, or social events such as church, school, or community meetings, you are interacting with people who might be interested in learning from you. Use your face-to-face meetings to ask questions and see how they react. Test ideas and ask for opinions.
YouTube. You just completed filming a course and perfected your audio and video skills. This is a community of people you’re already similar to! Create a YouTube account and fill in your profile. Next you’ll use this to promote some of your own course videos, but for now, just start commenting and liking other videos to get started.
Make a Facebook business page and find groups. If you have a personal Facebook page you might be tempted to use that, but it’s not professional and your friends might find too much promotion annoying. Create a business page and start posting articles about your topic, trends, and other items of interest to your audience. Facebook groups are a good way to find collections of people interested in a topic.
Brush up your contacts on LinkedIn. Your professional network includes people you’ve met at conferences, former colleagues, and others in your industry. Don’t worry about overlapping contacts between social media sites.
Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Use hashtags, conduct searches, and keep looking. When you see someone who is the student you want, see who they follow and interact with. You’ll probably also learn things that could inspire another course!
SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Promote your course by sharing your knowledge
Once you’ve discovered where your students are online and started engaging with them, you’ll be able to naturally start promoting your course. It’s important to keep creating value for the community as you start to sell to them. Remember that for each time that you mention your own course, you want to interact at least three times without selling anything. Having a balance ensures you don’t seem pushy and keeps your audience interested.
How to use coupon codes strategically
Expand your reach and start connecting
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When you publish your course on Udemy, you have the opportunity to fire off a coordinated course launch that is heard all over the world (or, at least, in certain parts around the internet). Remember, the more interest and enrollments you can generate during your first 30 days of launching, the better your chances are of getting featured or prioritized internally on Udemy. Earlier this week, we gave some tips for reaching out to your personal networks here are some more tips to get you started building social proof.
Establish yourself with social proof
Students worldwide trust Udemy to provide truthful reviews and ratings to help them make decisions about which courses and instructors are right for them. This is called “social proof” and when you establish it, it can help students assess if your course is right for them. Further, once students start taking your course, they want to trust that your course will fulfill its promised value. As you begin your journey, it’s important to start gathering feedback from students. The truth is, courses tend to gain more traction as they accrue more ratings and reviews.
Since we know how important this “social proof” is to your success, Udemy makes frequent investments in improving the ratings and review system. We are committed to protecting both students and instructors from fraudulent claims (see “Understanding the Udemy Review System,” below).
You’ve created a valuable course so you should share it. We encourage you to get the word out about your course to everyone in your social and professional network who might be interested in the content.
4 – 10 reviews create a good foundation for a new course
Don’t be afraid to ask for honest reviews and feedback in your course introduction video, by direct message, and in educational announcements to students
Respond appropriately to both negative and positive reviews
Use positive reviews in your own marketing and on your course landing page
Reviews deemed fake, fraudulent, or otherwise inauthentic are prohibited
You are not permitted to solicit reviews in exchange for products or services
You are not permitted to specify any detail or information that you would like a student to write in a review
You are not permitted to trade reviews with other instructors
If a student offers to provide a positive review in exchange for goods or services, you must decline
Please note: Some reviews written by close friends and family may end up being flagged by our review filter. Our review filter uses an algorithm to look at many data points before publishing a review. This filter is designed to help ensure that each review reflects an engaged, unbiased opinion from a learner with a genuine interest in the course material.
We block reviews that don’t meet this standard because they can create false expectations for new students, who might even leave a low rating because they had the wrong expectations for your course. This scenario isn’t great for either students or instructors. Learn more about the policy for reviews. That said, there is plenty you can do to encourage students to leave feedback in the course.
New courses need evidence.
If you’re just starting out, soliciting reviews can feel daunting and less important than marketing your course. However, reviews are essential to a new course and new instructor, so aim for 4-10 reviews to start.
If you get positive reviews from a student, they might be a perfect candidate for your future courses. On the flip side, we know that it’s frustrating, frightening, and confusing to receive negative reviews. When it happens (and it happens to everyone!) you can at least take a moment to see if you honestly recognize some of the issues are true, and then go make your course better. The way you respond to both will show your character and willingness to help students.
Ask for quality reviews
Ask students directly. Remind students that their opinions are important, and ask for their honest feedback– good or bad. You can do this in your course introduction video, your automatic welcome message and in educational announcements. Ask for feedback early and often. You can use language such as: “I hope you are enjoying taking this course as much as I am teaching it. Please take the time to leave an honest review or comment for me. Your feedback is important, and I look forward to hearing about your experience.”
Time the request. The best time to ask for a review is within the first 15 minutes of the course. During the first lecture students are still evaluating, but if you have included a quick win or other moments of value in the first 15 minutes the best time to ask for a review is just after.
Ask colleagues. Consider asking someone in your field to watch your course and leave an honest review. Have them mention their own professional expertise in their comment so students will see that your course is up to their level.
Examples from instructors
Writing an automatic welcome message
“Thank you so much for joining this course, I promise you won’t regret it. I’m Chris and I’ll guide you through the entire process. If you have any questions, feel free to post a message and I’ll be sure to answer it as fast as possible.
IMPORTANT: Udemy now asks for your feedback very early on and I can appreciate it being hard to judge a course from only a few lectures. Please make sure your review is accurate and update it as you go along.
If you think this isn’t a 5-star course, please let me know and I’ll do whatever I can to improve it. I want the best possible experience for you, so message me with any issues. Thank you!”
– Cristian D.
Respond to ratings and reviews
Receiving your first review is exhilarating but it can be nerve-wracking too. Use each opportunity to engage with the student and learn. Students want to see the same personal attention you provided in your course, so don’t just say “thanks.”
5-star reviews. Say thanks and recognize their effort as a student. Use their name.
Reviews below 5 stars. Acknowledge any negative feedback and offer a positive solution such as a course update or additional materials. For example: “Thank you (name) for the review. Can anything be added or changed in the course to make it better for you? Thanks again for the feedback.”
Star reviews without text. Ask the student for more specific information. Be friendly and remember that other students can see your responses. For example: “Thank you (name). You marked X and Y as not up to your expectations. Can you let me know what I can do to improve these parts of the course for you?”
Use reviews to promote yourself
Put positive reviews to work. Your own marketing becomes stronger with positive reviews, which are excellent to use in your emails, social media, and in course descriptions.
Use feedback to improve. If students repeatedly point out that something doesn’t work for them, consider adding content to the course or adjusting your course description to make it clearer. Respond to the review right away to let them know that you’re fixing things, and again when you’ve made changes. Students love to know they’re being heard and are thrilled to receive new practical exercises and projects. Make sure to let everyone know about course additions with an educational announcement.
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When you publish your course on Udemy, you have the opportunity to fire off a coordinated course launch that is heard all over the world (or, at least, in certain parts around the internet). Remember, when courses have momentum their first 30 days, and there is a swarm of students, reviews, and activity on your course page, our consumer marketing team takes notice as well as existing Udemy students. The more interest and enrollments you can generate during your first 30 days of launching, the better your chances are of getting featured or prioritized internally on Udemy. Here are some tips to get you started!
YOUR PERSONAL NETWORK
Spread the news in your personal network
If you’re ready to share your course with the world but are uncertain where to start, a good jumping off point for gathering feedback is via your social and professional network. When you write to people in your network, you can offer them a discount coupon code – even 100% off! By starting with the people who are already in your social or professional network, you can start gathering quality feedback more quickly. Receiving a few enrollments and reviews makes your course credible to other Udemy students and can be essential to creating a strong start.
How do I create and share an instructor coupon?
How do I create and share an instructor coupon?
Reviews from students in your network
Students who enroll in your course from your personal network may be prompted to leave reviews early in the course. Keep in mind that Udemy employs a review filter which checks every review before publishing it. We do this to help ensure we are providing students with truthful reviews that will assist them in making decisions about which courses are right for them.
Our guiding principle is to only publish reviews that we’re certain reflect an engaged, unbiased opinion from learners, who have a genuine interest in the course material. As a result, reviews from students in your personal network might not always meet this standard. We still encourage you to solicit as much honest feedback as you can from students in your network, but we can’t guarantee that every review from someone you know will be published.
How to tell friends and family about your course
Gather your contacts. Create a list of everyone in your network that would be excited to hear from you, or who would want to receive an update about your latest endeavor.
Reach out to everyone. Send your message via email, social media, and wherever else your friends and family hang out online. Take a moment to tailor the message to specific groups such as alumni or professional organizations so they don’t feel spammed.
Write in your own words. People will expect to receive a genuine note in your voice. Share the good news (“I’m excited to announce my new online course!”) and ask them to support you by either enrolling or sharing it with someone else who might benefit.
Give them a present. Use coupon codes to make the course low-cost or even free.
Meet in real life. Don’t forget to mention your course to people you meet in person! Talking face to face can be one of the best ways to try out and adjust your sales pitch. Ask questions about what bothers them and think about how your course helps them solve their problems.
Put every email to work. Add a link to your course in your email signature: “Have you heard—I’m now accepting students into my NAME OF COURSE course! Join now for 40% off: [instructor coupon link].”
Sending mass emails
While sending personalized emails is the best tactic, you might have more people than you can write to individually. Here’s how to export your contacts from several platforms to send a group email. Avoid putting all the addresses in the “to” field, which can reveal all the accounts and create a mess of “reply all” responses. Put all the addresses in the “bcc” field instead.
Course launch email template
Subject line: I’m excited to announce my new course! (Special offer included inside :))
I’m excited to share that I just published my new online course [name of course linked to coupon], which I have been working on for the past six months and I’d love your help.
This course is for [your course’s target audience] and people who are trying to achieve [goals, skills], and covers [three interesting points they will learn]. I think you’ll get a lot out of it (including supporting me!).
My goal is to reach [number] of students by Friday. You can enroll now with this coupon [coupon link here] which brings the price down to [discounted amount]. Or feel free to share this link [linked to coupon] with someone else who might benefit from the course.
This coupon [linked to coupon] will expire within [time period no longer than seven days], so don’t wait!
As you check the course out, you’ll be prompted to leave a review. I’d love to hear your feedback, so please do write your honest thoughts!
Thanks so much for your support!
[OPTIONAL] P.S.: Here is a teaser to get you even more excited! [attach a promo video, short lecture, or resource from the course].
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Each week, we’re showcasing one of our 5 community values to celebrate what makes our community of instructors unique. We have already shared 3 previous values, this week, we’ll be discussing the value “Be a learner”
Teaching is the final stage of learning, and at any given point in time, we all have the potential to be both students and instructors. To learn and become better instructors, we give and receive feedback and orient our words and actions around what we can control and will do.
“Compositing is a field that offers multiple ways to tackle a problem. As a self-taught compositor and Nuke artist, I want to share my knowledge with everyone. The field of visual effects is one where artists tend to have a lot of fun and innovate constantly. So, apart from sharing my knowledge with the world, I also see it as an opportunity to discover new techniques and perfect existing ones by teaching the process.” - Anandh (Sri Lanka)
Share a moment when you were a learner, instead of the teacher.
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It’s hard to believe we’re already 3 months into 2019! At Udemy HQ we spent some time reflecting on successes and failures and plotting our priorities for the year ahead. As an instructor, there are many different things you can focus on to improve your business. You can create more courses, you can improve your marketing, you can increase your engagement with students and more. What are your top #1 and #2 goals for 2019 on Udemy? Tell us below!
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Udemy’s mission is to improve lives through learning and as instructors we believe you’re doing that every day. There are thousands of courses on Udemy, and you’ve probably watched your fair share. So we wanted to know what’s your all-time favorite Udemy course?
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Hey instructors, We’re happy to finally open the doors to our new community! To celebrate we’re hosting launch events throughout the month of February! For those able to attend the event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Feb 5th and in New York and Mexico City on Thursday, Feb 7th, post a comment below introducing yourself and be entered into a raffle for a swag giveaway! Can't wait to see you!
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Social proof is one of the most powerful factors in your success as a Udemy instructor. When students are deciding between multiple courses, enrollments, ratings, and written reviews play a huge role in giving students the confidence to buy. “Social proof” is a fancy way of saying “other people have proven this content is valuable.” It means that a prospective student doesn’t have to take as big a risk. They can feel secure knowing others have vetted it and weighed in on the quality first. When your course starts out, it’s always a blank slate. That’s why the number one most important thing to do in the first weeks is to establish a good baseline of social proof. The exact baseline will depend on your competition, the language, and the topic you’re teaching. However, a good rule of thumb is to work toward 100 enrollments, 10 ratings, and 4-5 written reviews. If you can get more than that, fantastic. The point is, once you start passing that threshold your course landing page is likely to be much more successful at converting prospective students into buyers. Let’s break it down by each component. Enrollments Create a list of relevant personal and professional contacts. Then, add social networking groups you belong to. Finally, research groups and forums where your target student is likely to spend time on the internet. Carefully craft a message to send to these groups that will entice them to enroll in your course. Use Udemy coupons to make people feel special. Offer a 75% or 100% discount, add an expiration date and drive urgency to sign up for your course. This can help you get an early influx of students. Learn more about coupons. Be careful about giving away thousands of free coupons. Free students are typically less engaged, which means they are less likely to take the time to give you ratings and reviews. Asking for Ratings + Reviews Ask for honest reviews and feedback in your course introduction video, by direct message, and in educational announcements to students. You can use language such as: “I hope you are enjoying taking this course as much as I am teaching it. Please take the time to leave an honest review or comment for me. Your feedback is important and I look forward to hearing about your experience.” Ask colleagues or others in your network who have a genuine interest in the topic to review your course. If they have prior experience, ask them to honestly review it and mention their past experience so it helps other students gauge the level and quality. Making the Most of Your Reviews Reviews are less likely to be posted if the reviewer has not actually watched and engaged with your course. Our filter is designed to ensure each review reflects an engaged, unbiased opinion from a learner with a genuine interest in the course. Respond to positive reviews by mentioning their name, saying thanks, and recognizing their effort as a student. Respond to negative reviews with warmth and professionalism to show that you care about the reviewer’s experience. Example: “Thank you (name) for the review. Can anything be added or changed in the course to make it better for you? Thanks again for the feedback.” Use positive reviews in your own marketing and on your course landing page! Make sure to ask your students for permission first. Policy Guidelines Reviews deemed fake, fraudulent, or otherwise inauthentic are prohibited You are not permitted to solicit reviews in exchange for products or services You are not permitted to specify any detail or information that you would like a student to write in a review You are not permitted to trade reviews with other instructors If a student offers to provide a positive review in exchange for goods or services, you must decline Resources: Youtube video– Getting your first 100 students Youtube video– How to get ratings and reviews Article– Establish yourself with social proof
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